Last ditch effort for a comfortable racquet

top_the_spin

New User
Been suffering from pain in my elbow since the last year. This is my final hail mary to find a comfortable racquet. From reading other threads, seems like pro-kennex, wilson Clash and phantom O3 port are the front runners. Between the 3 brands/lines of racquets, can someone tell me which is ABSOLUTELY the most comfortable racquet. While I would love for the racquet to have good spin and control, I'd suffer the loss in both if it helps my arm. Any other recommendations are also welcome.

My racquet journey so far has been : Pure aero will full poly 4G, HyperG, Tourbite@ 56lbs (sigh....) -> head gravity tour stock @48 natgut/softpoly -> head gravity tour with lead tape @51 natgut/origin -> prince phantom 93p stock @ 53 natgut/Prince premier control

For context, I'm 27, played tennis throughout my childhood and teens. picked it up again during the quarantine after a gap of about 10 years. Should be about a low 4.0 player right now.

If this new racquet (coupled with a few more sessions of physio) doesn't help, I'll probably end up giving up tennis for badminton or ping pong or something.
 
The ProKennex's are the most comfortable; the kinetic quadfocus tech is unparalleled when it comes to arm comfort. The Clash and O-port phantoms are comfortable too, but they're not everyone's cup of tea; neither offers great control unless you hit with a full western grip and a ton of topspin. If I were you I'd go the PK route and check out the Black Ace line; they all have PK's trademark dampening, thin beams, and mid-high 50s RAs like the Clash lineup. The Black Ace Pro 97 will probably have the combination of control and spin you're looking for.
 

top_the_spin

New User
These are the things I've tried so far:

1. Took a month off 3 times in the last year(Nov 2020, Feb and April 2021).
2. I've been using the green theraband for the past 3 months now. using it about 5 min every day. I think that's helped quite a bit. The pain happens less often but its still there. As a bonus my forearms look really buff :p
3. saw a coach and fixed my serve technique which is what messed up my elbow in the first place I think.
4. The racquet/string changes I mentioned above
5. wearing a forearm brace while play and Icing the elbow when I get home

What's the difference between Pro Kennex Q+ tour 315 and the black ace line? After playing with phantom 93p I fell in love with that heavy, thin beam, HL design. They both seem to share those characteristics.
 

10S-Junkie

Rookie
Are you strengthening your elbow? Use a Theraband Flexbar and don’t play tennis until you are completely pain-free.
Ditto on this as I suffered a bout of TE a few years ago. My current racquet is a Prince Phantom 100X 18x20. Stiffness is only 59 and very low vibration.
Hope your TE heals quick but it will only do so if you take a break and rehab it with the Flexbar, stretching, etc. Then avoid full poly when you start up again.
 

tim-ay

Hall of Fame
Having played with all of these rackets, the Clash 100 is by far the easiest on your arm. I prefer the pro kennex for control and feel, but play the clash 100 for 3-6 months and you’ll be fine. Add a bit of lead at 12.

and yeah, get a flex bar. Edit- reading further down, you have one. Good move.
 
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The Prince Phantom 100 o3 (first gen) is the softest racket I have ever used. Most people find it too muted but that doesn't effect my play at all. It feels like a pillow. I am very interested in trying the new black ace pro 97 but I am waiting to see tw advanced stats.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Between the 3 brands/lines of racquets, can someone tell me which is ABSOLUTELY the most comfortable racquet.
This might be a trick question. If you think about other things like shoes, jeans, etc., the most comfortable ones for you are the ones that fit you the best. Racquet comfort is hard to predict for any individual, so you may need to "try on" a few more to sort it out for yourself.

I definitely think you're doing to right thing by getting away from poly strings. You could eventually settle on a racquet that's relatively stiff, but it might give you plenty of comfort and decent performance when paired with a softer string. And if multifiber just plays too soft for you, there's also the option of synthetic gut at moderate tension.

I play syn. gut in my Volkl C10's and these are supremely comfortable on my arm. This frame is heavier than what many prefer these days, but they're stable through the ball and also inherently arm-friendly with their moderate "hoop flex". I can also say that I ran into an acute case of tennis elbow a couple years ago when I tried a full bed of "soft" poly in this racquet at lower tension. Stay away from stiff string in a racquet that fits you well enough and that might do the trick.
 

Ryebread

Professional
Clash 98 is the only clash that resembles a players frame.

Gravity Tour, probably also the Pro

Blade v7

I’m 45. I own all of these and they are all very comfy. No risk.
 

cortado

Professional
I'm not convinced that racquet flex alone is the most important thing with regards to comfort. I think racquets that are too flexible can behave erratically, causing you to tighten your grip too much and tense/strain when hitting. I think medium stiffness that plays very consistently, combined with medium soft string is probably best.
 
What's the difference between Pro Kennex Q+ tour 315 and the black ace line? After playing with phantom 93p I fell in love with that heavy, thin beam, HL design. They both seem to share those characteristics.
I haven't tried the Black Ace line but I own a Pro Kennex Q+ tour 315, a Phantom 100x 03 and a Phantom 93P 18x20. I bought the Pro Kennex after the Phantom 100 and, when I saw the specs of the Black Ace's, I thought it might be too similar to the Phantom 100s. The Pro Kennex is different -- a bit more power and control I'd say with a slightly smaller head size. Equally comfortable but in a different way. I liked the 93p a lot but I had more off-centre hits with the 93 inch frame and that is harsh on the limbs. I've never had tennis elbow but I've had wrist problems so I need to be careful. I also have a Theraband Flexbar (red). Good for wrists too.
 

Lorenn

Professional
For context, I'm 27, played tennis throughout my childhood and teens. picked it up again during the quarantine after a gap of about 10 years. Should be about a low 4.0 player right now.
Historical this is a common story for players injuring themselves. Players take a time off and come back. The problem is your muscle memory/memory exceeds your current capabilities. Normally I recommend starting at a very low level and working yourself back into reaching your new level over time. The other thing to note is that tendon injuries are very slow to heal. So the month off might not be anywhere near enough, especially if you don't rehab during them. Combine that with healing a little and coming back to play every thirty days or so. Another thing to consider is a flexy racquet with flexy strings might be overkill. I normally think a moderate racquet with flexy strings or a flexy racquet with moderate string tends to work best. (Normally suggest natural gut, Head Velocity, Techifibre Triax, Good Syn guts...avoid poly)

I expect you would need quite a bit of time because of the recurring nature of the injury. The good news is you are rehabbing now. I would maybe focus on yoga, fitness and Rehab for 90 days and then start like I was a new player. Basically never hitting above 25-50 percent. I would also increase my time with the flexbar and maybe go up one if that is a option. Continue flexbar even after you feel recovered,
 
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mike schiffer

Semi-Pro
no poly, no poly,no poly.......ever ever ever!!!!!!.....Prince premier touch and or natty gut full bed......massage and stretch the big forearm muscle....videos on the Tube.............practice on a wall so you hit the sweet spot consistently.....racquet weight should gradually be increased to 12 oz and above.....all those racquets mentioned are good......you can defeat TE with these measures....give your arm time to strengthen muscles and ligaments,tendons.....if when you play you see that big forearm muscle get tight......massage it out till it's supple....did I mention no poly
 
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nvr2old

Hall of Fame
Many threads here about this tendinopathy (do a search of pathophysiology and treatment) and many factors involved not solely racket/string issue (technique, idiosyncratic physiology, physical condition etc etc) although for some optimizing this helps tremendously. Above advice is sage in terms of equipment. Good luck.
 

ngoster

Rookie
I'll vouch for the Clash as well. Very soft and lots of power. I played with the 98. I don't have a full western (I'm eastern for the most part) and tend to have more of a flat swing path. It took me several months of playing around with string tension and swing tweaks to learn to control the power. Shots were still relatively flat but with more spin. Once I figured it out, it became a very fun stick to play with.

Also agree with others, stay away from poly's until your arm heals.
 

nvr2old

Hall of Fame
On the racquet question. I didn’t initially like the clash due to lack of control and excessive power. However played a friends that was strung at 57 and given its 55 or so RA made it more controlled and still comfy.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
On the racquet question. I didn’t initially like the clash due to lack of control and excessive power. However played a friends that was strung at 57 and given its 55 or so RA made it more controlled and still comfy.
Good to see you are playing! :)
 

Curtennis

Semi-Pro
Pure aero will full poly 4G, HyperG, Tourbite@ 56lbs (sigh....)
-Obviously a bad move

head gravity tour stock @48 natgut/softpoly -> head gravity tour with lead tape @51 natgut/origin ->
-Either one of these should have been okay. It’s going to be hard to get much easier on the arm. if this is giving you pain I think you really need to just step away for a little while.


prince phantom 93p stock @ 53 natgut/Prince premier control
-Although a flexible frame, so low powered that you have to swing out super hard on every shot.

In my amateur opinion id recommend a clash 100 before calling it quits. Super Flexible and very high powered considering the flexibility.
this will be arm comfortable and help you not have to swing out so hard to generate power. I doubt You’ll be playing your best tennis with this racquet with a soft multi at 50 lbs, but it could at least keep you in the game recreationally. Ideally tho I think you need to take time off.

edit: how long as it been since you played with your arm wrecking first set up? Aero with 4g at 56 lbs is borderline insane.
if you played that for a couple months and only moved to the others for a couple weeks, I’m not slightly surprised you’re still in pain.
 
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Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Nothing compares to the Prince ESP racquets for comfort IMHO. Finding one in decent shape....................................
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Flex bar and a PK frame and you will be back Plus I'd self-rate at 3.5 and learn to win matches again before assuming 4.0. 10 years is quite a while and rust is real.
 

PistolPete23

Professional
Been suffering from pain in my elbow since the last year. This is my final hail mary to find a comfortable racquet. From reading other threads, seems like pro-kennex, wilson Clash and phantom O3 port are the front runners. Between the 3 brands/lines of racquets, can someone tell me which is ABSOLUTELY the most comfortable racquet. While I would love for the racquet to have good spin and control, I'd suffer the loss in both if it helps my arm. Any other recommendations are also welcome.

My racquet journey so far has been : Pure aero will full poly 4G, HyperG, Tourbite@ 56lbs (sigh....) -> head gravity tour stock @48 natgut/softpoly -> head gravity tour with lead tape @51 natgut/origin -> prince phantom 93p stock @ 53 natgut/Prince premier control

For context, I'm 27, played tennis throughout my childhood and teens. picked it up again during the quarantine after a gap of about 10 years. Should be about a low 4.0 player right now.

If this new racquet (coupled with a few more sessions of physio) doesn't help, I'll probably end up giving up tennis for badminton or ping pong or something.
My guess is that you keep trying to play even though your elbow isn't fully healed. Like you, I returned to tennis after a long hiatus, but had played throughout my childhood and teens. I never had elbow issues before but developed quite severe pain shortly after returning. I tried ice and performing exercises with the Flexbar. Initially even rehabbing with the Flexbar would hurt my elbow. I bought flexible (< 60 RA), foam-filled racquets and strung them with soft strings at lower tensions, but no matter the gear and setup, my elbow would still hurt especially in the beginning of a hitting session. Eventually what worked was several months of rest and daily stretches + Flexbar (when it wasn't painful anymore) to allow the elbow to fully heal and strengthen the muscles. Now I play pain-free with a full bed of Hyper G 16. What happened was that the muscles necessary for competitive tennis were overused because of the long hiatus. I should have eased into playing more gradually. Don't give up on tennis and I hope you find my experience helpful!
 

top_the_spin

New User
Thanks guys for all this input! Got a lot more replies than I was expecting. This website is amazing.

@PistolPete23 I think your experience is pretty much identical to mine. usually hurts in the beginning of the session and 2 days later. Though I think my pain is less severe, the flexbar never hurt me even from the beginning. That being said, it's encouraging to hear that a full bed of poly in my prince phantom 93p is at least a (far) distant possibility.

Sounds like the mistake I made with head gravity tour/phantom 93p was going for high density string pattern and extremely low power. Being an aggressive player, I loved having that control. But having to swing out probably is putting a lot of pressure on the elbow. Also against big hitters, I think I was hitting a lot of balls off-center in the 93p. I live in Toronto where the tennis season is literally June-September. "Taking a few months off" right now basically means I won't get to play till May of next year. So here's my plan :

1. I'm going to be take 2 weeks off and continue stretching/flexbar. I'm hoping this along with a more counterpuncher style game change would atleast last me until September. Can take the winter off and heal for 8 months.
2. Sounds like Wilson clash is the consensus here. I already know I'm going to hate the open pattern and high power/low control on that racquet. Plus the fortune I'll have to spend on restringing it every week. I used to go through multis every week in my 16x19 aero because of my top spin heavy game. Whatever works though. I think the 100 size is the way to go. I'll be minimizing shocks due to off-center hits that way.
3. If the pain still stays there I'll just cut short the season and switch to badminton or something until next year. The indoor stuff should be opening up next month here.

Thanks again for all your input guys!
 

toby55555

Hall of Fame
I have a sensitive arm, the old PK 5G with NXT got me back playing (didn’t wait to get pain free and pain actually went away). Eventually felt lacked a bit of power and tried a Clash Tour and reckon this was even more comfortable and was able to use a soft Poly. I have read some players getting wrist problems with Clash though so may not be everyone’s answer.
PK Ki5 would be good bet, I didn’t find their Pro models as comfortable.
 

t_pac

Semi-Pro
After playing with phantom 93p I fell in love with that heavy, thin beam, HL design.
Pro Kennex Q Tour Pro 325g! Kinetic tech plus a low RA and a decent weight.

I've had my share of elbow issues and this is my current frame. I play with low tension poly but it plays well with nat gut hybrids or a decent multi for even more comfort. the original O3 Phantom is super plush but seriously lacks power. I actually found the clash a bit jarring on my arm when serving (possibly just too light for me).

However, rehab and prevention is the key here.
 

Lorenn

Professional
1. I'm going to be take 2 weeks off and continue stretching/flexbar. I'm hoping this along with a more counterpuncher style game change would atleast last me until September. Can take the winter off and heal for 8 months.
2. Sounds like Wilson clash is the consensus here. I already know I'm going to hate the open pattern and high power/low control on that racquet. Plus the fortune I'll have to spend on restringing it every week. I used to go through multis every week in my 16x19 aero because of my top spin heavy game. Whatever works though. I think the 100 size is the way to go. I'll be minimizing shocks due to off-center hits that way.
3. If the pain still stays there I'll just cut short the season and switch to badminton or something until next year. The indoor stuff should be opening up next month here.

For multi try Techifibre Triax and Head Velocity. You don't have to turn all your extra power into spin. You can change your swing a little(reducing power) and relax a bit more. Maybe help players work on their game versus playing those which make you reach peak performance.
 

toby55555

Hall of Fame
Out of interest how do you hit your backhand? I believe one handed drive backhands are usually the most jarring to the outer elbow especially if the follow through is abbreviated. Switching to two hands or only hitting slice might help. Wearing an Epicondylitis Clasp from the start of a match and icing after is also good.
An LTA consultant osteo gave me the excercise which is shown at 5:07 and that helped a lot. He didn’t think rest was needed.
 

Lorenn

Professional
An LTA consultant osteo gave me the excercise which is shown at 5:07 and that helped a lot. He didn’t think rest was needed.
Nice grouping of exercises. Eccentric reverse wrist curls are great to work on the area, but I normally focus on Flexbar Tyler twists and Reverse Tyler twists.
 

thorcyar

New User
Hello, pure aero team user here (2016 version, 73 RA ...), I got myself a tennis elbow + golfer's elbow with multifilament.fullbed. I sold this sh*t, I'll never buy babolat again.

My T.E. and G.E were agravated with diverse causes (tennis leg... forcing use of crutches WITH tennis elbow. Outch)

One year and a half later (and still counting), I have not played a single time. T.E. and G.E. are still here, but are starting to fade away ; a lot of physiotherapy, after 3 unsuccesful cortizone injections. I bought prokennex q+5pro old version (when I tried it, t.e. did not seem to get worse), and went down 1 grip size (from 4 to 3).

For now, I'm only able to move the YELLOW flexbar, not for long. But that's improving (very) slowly. So for me : P.K. + physio + flexbar + no play at all for a very long time.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Hello, pure aero team user here (2016 version, 73 RA ...), I got myself a tennis elbow + golfer's elbow with multifilament.fullbed. I sold this sh*t, I'll never buy babolat again.

My T.E. and G.E were agravated with diverse causes (tennis leg... forcing use of crutches WITH tennis elbow. Outch)

One year and a half later (and still counting), I have not played a single time. T.E. and G.E. are still here, but are starting to fade away ; a lot of physiotherapy, after 3 unsuccesful cortizone injections. I bought prokennex q+5pro old version (when I tried it, t.e. did not seem to get worse), and went down 1 grip size (from 4 to 3).

For now, I'm only able to move the YELLOW flexbar, not for long. But that's improving (very) slowly. So for me : P.K. + physio + flexbar + no play at all for a very long time.
Know a player who hit with beginners with his off-hand just to stay in the game. For three years
 

thorcyar

New User
Know a player who hit with beginners with his off-hand just to stay in the game. For three years
I can't do that, as my off wrist has an issue too, causing me big pain (so no 2 handed backhand possible, nor offhand play. I tried but that was ridiculous).
 
I've had tennis elbow 2 times over the past 5 years - main culprits have been stiff racquets (Babolat Aeropro Drive Plus) and/or stiff strings (Kirschbaum Max Power). Also agree that I feel the most acute pain in my elbow when I'm late on my one handed backhand.

I've not hit with the Wilson Clash, but a friend of mine who recently had tennis elbow absolutely swears by it. I've hit with the Pro Kennex 7G and its super comfortable. However, when I was getting over my tennis elbow, letting it heal and then playing with a softer racquet (Head Pro Tour 280/Wilson Pro Staff 97S/Yonex DR98) and softer strings (natural gut hybrid and then over time, to soft poly (i.e. Hyper G soft) at low tension) allowed me to keep playing without aggravating my arm. In my most severe case (about 5 years ago), I had to stop playing for about a month before resuming as I could feel pain doing basic things like opening doors and shaking hands. Lots of ice, some flexbar and some self administered OT helped in the recovery phase.

Even now, I try to play with racquets which are at most mid stiffness (i.e. mid-60s) and strung with at least reasonably soft polys to keep my arm healthy. If ever I get even a twinge of soreness, I first change out my strings and if necessary, I'll switch back to a more comfortable racquet (i.e. Pro Tour 280) until its gone.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
My bout with TE/GE was over 25 yrs ago and the racquets that allowed me to play again are long gone, Wilson PS 7.5 95/110 & Yonex SRD 90/95. Open string pattern and flexy, standard length Still own 3 of 4, pr. SRD 90 just too valuable, rarely used.
 

top_the_spin

New User
I play two handed backhand. Though I do feel a lot of pain when I hit a single hand volley above my head.

For strings I already have 2-3 sets of origin. Was planning on hybriding that with a couple of cheap natguts got from India. Full bed of natguts is an option but doesn't get a good spin cause of limited string movement. Once its run out, I'll look into triax. Have been curious about it since TW did their review.

@thorcyar that sounds horrible... Honestly I can't believe how well babolat racquets sell given the amount of grief I've seen them cause to players. They should really look into fixing their tech to be softer on the arm.

Any advice between Clash 100 tour/pro vs vanilla clash 100? Seems like clash pro is just a heavier and more HL version. Sounds like the heavier one should be more comfortable right?
 

Yamin

Professional
If you hit hard, DO NOT go clash. I had my arm issues worsen with the clash. The blade 18x20 was softer for me despite the higher RA

The Prince with O ports are good, but you will need to swing a lot harder for some models and they're a pain to string.

I'd go with ProKennex as they have good comfort but also decent power.
 

nvr2old

Hall of Fame
Always hard to give racquet advice as we all have our preferences etc especially when it comes to injury prevention and TE. My 0.02 on clash and blade V7 is clash feels much different especially strung at 50 or below. At higher tension with its very low RA it is a very different racquet IMO. Blade v7 is a more direct crisper racquet. I have one strung at high 40’s and another with soft poly at 56. Neither feels overly “stiff” or underpowered but c/w clash they do have less power. I prefer my clash strung at 57 vs the one at 45 as it is a more direct feel and quells the excessive power and fliers inherent in the clash design. The clash is really designed for a spin/power game I think and rewards and even demands at times that technique. It’s really apples vs oranges. Both are great just gotta be aware of the pluses and minuses. On a side note I bought the clash 100L and blade 100L and used them as a platform to add weight to the butt end mostly. Both weigh about 11.4 to 11.5 oz now strung and that has also changed the way they behave so lots of ways to skin a cat.
 

jdx2112

Semi-Pro
Stop playing until you are pain free. Continue with physio and associated exercises. Then resume playing - gingerly at first. Rackets I have played with that fit your description? Prince Phantom 100x 03 and Pro Kennex Q+ tour 315.
Totally agree with stop playing and getting your arm right first. B/c the Gravity Tour and Prince racquets are not stiff. They shouldn't hurt your arm. If it continues after you get it right, then it's probably technique to some degree. It may be that the Babolat stick, very stiff, hurt your arm and you haven't healed properly.
 

jdx2112

Semi-Pro
Yes, the beauty of PK is you get complete arm comfort without having to sacrifice modern power.
Curious if the RA ratings on PK racquets should not be considered in the same way other racquets are...meaning, despite the stiffness of some of their racquets, does the kinetic tech protect the arm?
 

BumElbow

Rookie
I have chronic tennis elbow and have opted out of surgery. I have had much success with the Head MicroGel Radical Oversize strung @ 55 lbs. with syngut 16 or 17 gauge. Be sure to use the largest grip you can "handle" - I use a 4 5/8" size. I add a little lead tape at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions for improved stability and power.

I also have a Prince Phantom 100 with the "O" ports. It's very comfortable but I can't control the ball because of the CTS design that is widest at the tip.

Since racquets with 16 main strings create spin easier, I am considering a ProKennex Black Ace 300. However, the more I play with it, the better I get with the MicroGel Radical Oversize.
 
I have chronic tennis elbow and have opted out of surgery. I have had much success with the Head MicroGel Radical Oversize strung @ 55 lbs. with syngut 16 or 17 gauge. Be sure to use the largest grip you can "handle" - I use a 4 5/8" size. I add a little lead tape at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions for improved stability and power.

I also have a Prince Phantom 100 with the "O" ports. It's very comfortable but I can't control the ball because of the CTS design that is widest at the tip.

Since racquets with 16 main strings create spin easier, I am considering a ProKennex Black Ace 300. However, the more I play with it, the better I get with the MicroGel Radical Oversize.
How are you stringing the Phantom 100. I can't believe you can't control it. Most people have power issues but not control. If you don't have enough racket head speed it might make sense.
 
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